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The “Risk Health and Safety Manager” is responsible for organizing safety in companies, and ensure the training of employees in the field of safety. He or she also manages all actions of prevention of risks, controls and fights against all kinds of pollution including noise. This job can sometimes be perceived as a nuisance by employees or production managers but it is for the benefit of all: company, employees and environment. Let’s review all of his or her tasks.
(Published on February-March 2010 – JEC Magazine #55)
The risk management (fire, pollution, risk related to work place...) and their prevention requires the RHS Manager to be able to identify, evaluate, and propose solutions to decision makers and to participate in the implementation of measures chosen. He or she also acts on the ground to advise, facilitate, educate, persuade and train staff in risk culture. Moreover, the RHS Manager follows the evolution of regulations and legislation on occupational safety and environmental guidelines and ensures their implementation.
A job in development
The awareness and knowledge of occupational hazards (including environmental ones) are progressing and standards in this area are becoming increasingly stringent. Companies are therefore bound to appeal to RHS specialists to anticipate risks and enforce regulations; about VOCs or REACH for examples.
The nature of the post
The RHS Manager aims to reduce and control occupational hazards within the company, such as industrial accidents, occupational diseases, environmental hazards (pollution, noise). He/She analyzes these risks, evaluates and recommends solutions. He/She is also requested to investigate potential hazards during the construction of a factory.
In order to reduce the number of incidents, the RHS Manager designs and drives prevention plans within the company. He/She educates personnel on security matters by holding fire drills or training intervention techniques in case of accident, for example. He or she ensures plant reliability (alarm systems, fire doors, etc…) and ensures the implementation of all new standards. He or She writes up instructions regarding health and safety, e.g. from the smoking ban to the wearing of a prescribed uniform. The RHS Manager controls the working conditions of staff and takes urgent action if they observe a specific risk.
The RHS Manager knows perfectly the working conditions of employees of his/her company and the risks (if any) they may incur. He/She regularly updates scientific, technical and legal Knowledge and usually has a degree in first aid updates. To carry out his or her missions - for example, to decrease within 6 months the number of accidents in a company by 50% - the RHS Manager analyzes the situation, makes proposals and sets realistic results. To change risky behavior, the RHS Manager will often uses their sense of pedagogy. Authority, coolness, organization, discipline, negotiating skills and capacity for teamwork are necessary to resolve emergencies and makes quick decisions. Finally, the RHS Manager can intervene at any time, on several sites to manage flood, bioburden, accidental pollution ... standby duty hours and travel as a part of everyday life.
It is not an easy job. First, it requires a lot of different skills in Law, Science, education and Psychology. Secondly, production could sometimes seem to be slowed down by so much attention to safety. But, never ever forget that an ill or injured employee can simply not work…
The job market is particularly buoyant in the health and safety of employees and the control organisms. New needs are also emerging, such as studying and reducing the noise impact in the context of professional activities.